@LATechTandF Opens Competition at C-USA Championships Thursday
May 11, 2016
RUSTON, La. - For the entire season, track and field athletes focus on marks, rather than places, with the goal of setting an NCAA Preliminary Championship qualifying mark. But for the next week, it is about place and reaching the podium when Louisiana Tech heads to the 2016 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships beginning Thursday.
But a sleeping giant awaits Louisiana Tech, and the rest of the league, on its home turf. Middle Tennessee -- which hosts the league championship at the Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tennessee -- recently moved up to No. 25 in the national rankings on the men's side. Among the men, Conference USA ranks sixth nationally among all Division I conferences.
All four days of the meet will be broadcast live on the C-USA Digital Network.
The host Blue Raiders are led by Eliud Rutto in the 800m as he enters the week ranked third in the nation but for the Bulldogs all eyes will be on the sprints, hurdles and jumps. Jermey Hicks leads Conference USA and is ranked 16th in the nation in the 100m dash. He will run in the100m prelims at 6 p.m. Saturday before running in the 200m prelims at 7:40 p.m. that day, an event he ranks fifth in the league in.
Tramaine Maloney leads C-USA in the 110m hurdles and is ranked 23rd in the nation but Western Kentucky's Vincent Wyatt is hot on his heels, trailing Maloney by only 0.01 seconds. Maloney and Wyatt both look to advance out of the prelims race at 4:50 p.m. Saturday for a showdown in the finals race Sunday afternoon.
Jarrett Samuels ranks third in C-USA in the long jump a year after advancing to the NCAA Championships and earning honorable mention All-America honors in the event, facing a challenging field in Murfreesboro. Middle Tennessee's Atsu Nyamadi ranks second in the league ahead of Samuels by only 0.01 meters (less than an inch) while C-USA leader Trey McRae of Charlotte used a wind-aided mark at the Texas Relays to lead the league.
On the women's side Mia Adams leads Conference USA in the long jump by a 2.5-inch advantage and ranks 29th in the nation, but that league-leading mark came all the way back in March at the Louisiana Tech-hosted Jim Mize Invitational. She will need to post a big jump to receive the gold medal in an event where the top five jumpers are separated by only six inches.
Camille Lott is ranked second in the javelin with UTSA's Angel Sifuentes leading by less than two feet. That competition features the top three throwers separated by less than two feet as Lott looks to become the first javelin thrower from Tech to win a conference title since Melissa Gibbons in 2000.
The four-day meet begins Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with the first half of the (women's) heptathlon and (men's) decathlon competitions with Jordan Patrick competing in the decathlon.
Friday's action also starts at 1:30 p.m. with the resumption of the decathlon competition while the women's hammer throw starts at 2 p.m. Liza Wall leads Louisiana Tech in the hammer as the sophomore from Waverly, Ohio owns seven of the top 10 marks in school history, including setting the school record this year.
The majority of events take place Saturday and Sunday with field events split almost equally among those two days. Only the steeplechase finals will be run Saturday with all other running events holding preliminary heats that will whittle the field down to Sunday's finals races.
In addition to live broadcasts of all four days on the C-USA Digital Network, a link to live results is available at LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Tech Track and Field and Cross Country, please follow @LATechTandF on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
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